Finding the best cricket bats for your own unique needs can be tough. Everyone needs something slightly different from a bat, and the more research you do, the more you realise that there is a lot of nuance on the market. This isn’t just a case of getting the first plank of wood you can find and starting to hit, cricket bats have been crafted and refined over hundreds of years, and we have a huge amount of choice on the market today.
In this guide, we’re explaining everything that you need to look for when you are buying a cricket bat in 2023, as well as providing you with a rundown of some of the very best options on the market, including budget choices (we know that cricket can get very expensive).
The Best Bats For 2023
Let’s run through some of the best cricket bat options for 2023. We’ve got something for every price range and type of player listed below…
The Village Cricket Bat – Best Value Bat (Only £97)
Can you really get a cricket bat that costs less than £100 and has the quality to see you through season after season in your local league? The answer is “yes”.
The Village Cricket Co. has designed an amazing bat for a fraction of the price as many other models, by using one simple design and Salix Alba willow sourced in India. This is still high-grade wood that can last you season after season, it just doesn’t have the inflated price of English Willow.
The bat itself is 2lb 9oz with a low middle, perfect for English conditions. The bat weight means that it is very versatile, and can be used by both huge hitters and those who are more delicate touch players.
It’s even got a warranty of 12 months.
At a price like this, the bat is relatively simple and no frills, but it still has a great design that has been properly thought-out to make it suitable for English pitches. You can choose between SH, LH, Harrow, and all junior sizes, so there is an option for every cricketer and aspiring cricketer.
Gunn & Moore Diamond – Best Signature Bat
A lot of the very best bats on the market are made by some of the smaller brands out there, but sometimes the mammoth brands come out with an absolute gem. That’s exactly what this Diamond bat is
It is a little bit on the expensive side for the casual cricketer, but if you are looking for a beautiful pickup and a well-made bat then this is up there with the very best.
All GM LE bats have excellent Grade 1 willow, and it is hard to find any significant blemishes on the bat, and it feels a little lower in density than some of the other options on the market.
The manufacturing was all designed to make a bat for superstar batsman Ben Stokes. GM worked with the England cricketer on the design of the bat, and it has a few interesting design features as a result.
The bat is about 10mm longer than most other bats, at 555mm, but this is because of Stokes’ request for a longer blade. It’s got a high spine, too, made by GM in their “GMX” manufacturing method to try and help players to generate even more power.
The bat is on the heavier end of the spectrum at around 2lbs 11oz. If you don’t really have the power to back this up then you might want to think about a lighter bat. Ben Stokes definitely does have the power to hit the bigger shots, as you know.
If you are a big hitter, looking for a bat that can back you up, this could be a brilliant option. It’s not cheap, but it isn’t the most expensive bat you can find either, at an RRP of £440 (some other bats will cost £700-1000).
Viking Cricket Jorvik – Best Cricket Bat With Customisation
Viking Cricket is a relatively small(ish) brand making some fantastic bats for club cricketers (and village cricketers who don’t mind shelling out a little more). They have had some serious acclaim, such as being named in the “top 7 best bats of 2017” in The Telegraph magazine.
The Yorkshire-based brand named their bats after the Viking past in the region. The English Willow they use is grown in Suffolk (a lot of English Willow is).
The Jorvik is a really impressive bat from an independent brand who clearly spend a lot of time and due care providing quality, hand-made bats for their customers. It feels great in the hand, and with its low middle it is another bat that is good for English conditions.
One of the main reasons why we’ve included it on our list of the best cricket bats is the fact that you can customise this bat to your own needs.
When you are ordering, you can “build” your bat, choosing between different wood qualities (SE Grade 1, PRO Grade 2 & CLUB Grade 3), whether it is long handle or short handle, and even the weight of the bat. You are effectively choosing roughly what piece of wood you want to be used to make your perfect blade.
Though you can get a 2lb 8oz to 2lb 10 oz model, the Jorvik bat lives up to its powerful name with the option to buy a massive 3lb bat. If you don’t have the power to back this up, steer clear, but if you are a muscular cricketer with a large build, and you want to mash sixes like you’re Liam Livingstone, you might venture to the 3lb end of the market.
These bats aren’t astronomically priced. While you can get a decent and reliable bat for cheaper, this is a good choice if you want to spend a little bit more, but you don’t want your cricket bat to cost more than a few months of rent or mortgage payments!
Prophecy Vision – Small Brand, Powerful Bats
The Prophecy Vision cricket bat is a good option for those who want English Willow that doesn’t cost the earth. These bats have a really smart and intuitive design, and they play beautifully.
The English Willow wood used is always Grade 1, and while you might find the odd imperfection, it is generally very high-quality.
That bat has been built for playing big shots with comfort. It has a mid-blade swell designed to help you to play a variety of different shots.
Every bat is hand-made to order, which also means you can request certain custom options including the weight, with a range from 2lb 8oz to 2lb 11oz. The semi-oval handle also helps to make this bat more comfortable even when you’re reaching and playing massive shots.
It doesn’t come knocked in, and because it is bespoke, it may take a little longer for your bat to arrive. However, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a fantastic option, and it absolutely stands up next to bats that are much more expensive.
Millichamp & Hall F100 SE – Best Craftsmanship
The F100 bat is a thing of beauty. It is made with incredible craftsmanship, and is further proof that the M&H brand is one of the best small manufacturers of cricket bats. The brand is used by England cricketers such as Jack Leach.
This is one of the most popular bats in the range, but it is also one of the most expensive. It can help with the performance of virtually every type of batter. The pickup gives plenty of power and can hit the sixes (if you’ve got the arm for it) but it is also a well-balanced bat with options of just 2lb 8oz in weight, meaning that it is quite delicate and suits the touch player, too.
As soon as you hold this bat you’ll feel the quality. The brand describes the F100 is the “pinnacle of M&H’s craftsmanship”. As well as a great pickup, it has a tapered toe to help with power generation, and generous edges to help the ball to fly even when you don’t quite middle it. It’s a good bat for hitting to all parts of the ground.
This bat has a pronounced bow, too, giving you that extra bit of help picking up the power. It conforms to ICC and MCC cricket bat regs, so when you get that England callup you’ve been expecting, you will know that the bat can handle it.
Another minor detail, but one that we love, is the fact that there is a huge choice when it comes to stickers and detailing on the batt, so you can customise the look and really make it your own. There are a variety of different colours, but the same exceptional bat underneath.
MRF Genius Chase Master Cricket Bat – Best for Touch Players
This is Virat Kohli’s signature bat, made in conjunction with MRF. It’s got a mid sweet spot and a balanced design, as well as a very manageable weight. This makes it a perfect choice for a touch player.
Don’t get us wrong, this can also handle hitting some big power shots, but generally speaking a lot of people prefer this bat for working the ball into spaces. It’s also got plenty of power off the toe and the shoulder just in case you don’t middle it.
With a handmade design and a lovely distribution, this feels incredibly high-quality when you pick it up. The bat weight is between 2lb 8oz and 2lb 12oz but most seem to be at the lower end of that, making it easier to generate a fair amount of bat speed.
If this is good enough for Virat, it’s good enough for the majority of players! However, keep in mind the fact that this is going to cost more than £500. It is one of the most expensive models on the list, and while it is fantastic in terms of quality, the craftsmanship of the M&H model is probably that little bit higher.
That said, it is great for the player who likes to build an innings and spend some time at the crease, and can help you to score hundreds of runs.
Cricket Bat Buying Guide
Before giving you some of the very best options for bats to buy, let’s explore the criteria you should be working to.
The below considerations are crucial, and they could all impact on the choice you finally make when it comes to buying your bat.
Cricket bats do come in different sizes, but for adult male batters, the majority go for full-sized bats, which are split into “SH” and “LH” categories. SH stands for short handle, while LH stands for long handle. A long handle model is usually only really suitable for people who are 6’2” or taller, but there is an element of personal preference.
The next size down is an in-between size, Harrow. This is often used by smaller players and may be preferred by teenagers and adolescents rather than people who have grown to their full-frame. Beneath this, we have the junior sizes. The size guide below will help you to match the bat size to the age and size of the aspiring cricketer!
The weight of the bat could play a big part in your decision. Bats tend to weigh between 2lb 7oz and 2lb 12oz but this isn’t a prerequisite and you do find some bats that are a slightly different weight.
Generally speaking, the people who buy a heavy bat are those who have a lot of power, and are still able to generate a significant bat speed using a big heavy piece of wood. If you can’t do so, a lighter bat can allow you to generate that bat speed and access all of the shots you might want to play, letting you be more “nimble” with your shot selection.
The “middle” of the bat is a term you will hear a lot when you are playing cricket, or in commentary. This is basically the part of the bat where you want to make contact with the ball for the majority of shots.
For example, some bats have a “low middle” like the Village Cricket Bat, this helps with the low and slow bounce of the English pitches. It means that the ball’s bounce is more likely to take it straight onto the middle of your bat and help you to generate more power.
Bats with a higher middle may be better suited to bouncy pitches. Like a lot of aspects of cricket, this is one of the things that comes down to personal preference.
Wood Type (and Grade)
Cricket bats are made out of willow, right?
Yes, the majority of great bats are made out of willow, but within this category there are some nuances and information to be aware of. Not all of the willow used is English.
English Willow is expensive, and this can drive the price of the bats up, often to silly levels for village cricketers. Salix Alba willow from India, also known as Kashmir Willow, is a fantastic alternative. The tree species is the same as English Willow, but the differences come from the conditions in which the tree itself is grown, and the climate in the area. A lot of bats are made in India anyway, so using a local willow can help save money. The Village Cricket Co. has taken advantage of this willow to make an affordable yet reliable bat for our customers.
Cricket bats also come in different grades of willow. Grade 1 is the very best available, with Grade 5 being the lowest grade. On a Grade 1 bat, expect “at least 6 fairly straight grains visible on the face. There may be a small knot or speck in the edge or back of the bat but the playing should be clean.” (Kookaburra). As you will have worked out, the higher the grade, the more pro the bat. We don’t all need a Grade 1 to get by.
In an ideal world, we would all be able to spend £400+ on a beautiful bat, but this is not realistic. There are some incredible bats out there if you are able to spend £500 or so, but for most of us, this isn’t realistic, especially if you are playing at a low level.
A budget English Willow bat may cost close to £300, which is still high. Our bat is designed to cater for those who want reliability with affordability. We’re proud of creating a quality bat under £100 that is perfect for the amateur cricketer.
We could spend all day talking about the ins and outs of bat choice, but let’s keep things a little more simple. Some of the other considerations for choosing a bat include:
- Is it knocked in? Knocking in can be a long and arduous process, or an added cost if you get someone else to do it. Why not buy a bat that is ready to go as soon as it arrives?
- Guarantee. Do you get a money back guarantee or a warranty when buying the bat?
- Brand. Are you buying from a quality and reputable brand?
- Your style of shot play. If you love to play drives then a low middle is ideal, for instance. If you want to be a ‘360’ player then you shouldn’t buy a bat that is too heavy as this can make it really difficult to play shots all around the ground.
When you want to buy a cricket bat, you are faced with hundreds of different choices. Even once you’ve decided on a manufacturer or a model of cricket bat, you may have to make further choices such as whether or not you want to pay for knocking in, or whether you are going to request a specific weight.
Our guide to the best cricket bats on the market in 2023 has something for everyone, and can also help to guide you through some of those difficult decisions to ensure you have a bat you are happy with and that will last you season after season, even if you don’t have a huge budget.