A lot of people are shocked at the prices of cricket equipment. If you’re starting to get involved with the hobby for the first time, or you have a child who wants their first cricket bat, you might soon be searching for how to get good, cheap cricket bats.
A lot of professional cricket bats can cost in excess of £400 or even £500, so finding the best value cricket bats on the market is crucial if you want to get started with the hobby but you don’t have huge amounts of money to spend on the hobby.
In this guide, we’re exploring the best cheap cricket bats on the market and how they stack up against the more expensive models on the market. We’ve also included a buying guide so people can understand the features of bats, something that can be a little daunting if you don’t have any experience of what it is like to step up to the crease.
Why Are Cricket Bats So Expensive?
This is a question that a lot of people have when they start searching for cricket equipment. Just what makes a cricket bat cost so much?
There are a few things that drive the cost of the more expensive bats:
- Professional endorsements and advertising. There is a war among the famous cricket brands to try and gain the support of professionals and to improve the perception of their brand. All of these sorts of costs get passed on to the consumer. It also has nothing to do with the actual quality of the bat.
- The price of wood. A lot of bats are made out of English willow, and the higher the grade of the willow, the more expensive the raw materials are. There aren’t infinite supplies of quality English willow, and this limited resource drives the price of bats upwards.
- Export, import, export. A lot of bats are made in India, even if they are made out of English willow. So, there is every chance that the bat will start its life as a piece of English willow that then gets exported out to India, turned into a bat, and imported back to the UK. All of this comes at a cost.
A Cheaper Alternative – The Village Cricket Bat
The Village Cricket Bat got its name from the fact that it can be used in village cricket, by cricketers who don’t do this as their day job and therefore probably don’t want to shell out £500 every time they want a new bat. Remember that you’ve probably also got to spend money on whites, pads, a helmet, and spikes.
The village cricket bat is made out of Kashmir willow. This is exactly the same tree species as English willow, Salix Alba. The wood is grown in slightly different conditions, which gives it a darker appearance, but this is still exceptionally strong, high-quality wood, which creates a bat that can provide your accomplice for years to come. Kashmir willow may even last longer than English willow as a result of the conditions it is grown in.
The fact that the wood is grown in India solves the problem of having to constantly import and export the same piece of wood, which would be the case if English willow were used.
The Village Cricket Bat is perfect for those who want to save some money, or for putting in your local cricket club’s kit bag if anyone forgets (or breaks) their bat.
We don’t chase professional endorsements, and all of the savings get passed on to the consumer. Where else will you find a durable bat that is made for English conditions for under £100?
Choosing a Cricket Bat
If you have never bought a cricket bat before, you might be shocked at all of the choice that you have, and confused by some of the terminology.
It is unusual for a piece of sporting equipment to require you to consider the maintenance before you have even bought it.
With a cricket bat, having to “knock in” is a vital consideration. Plenty of aspiring cricketers have experienced a horror story when it comes to buying their bat. If you take a bat out to use and it has not been knocked in properly, there is a chance that it will crack or break as soon as a ball hits it with any force.
Yes, the very first time you make contact with the ball, there’s a chance it can break. Knocking it in is all about strengthening the fibres within the bat, and without the process, the bat is compromised.
The Village Cricket Bat comes pre knocked in, so you can rest assured that it is totally ready to use.
The best-selling size of bat on the market is an SH bat. This means “Short Handle”. These bats are aimed at adults up to 6’ 3” in height.
The other main adult size is “LH” which is for larger cricketers. They’re usually suitable for those who are taller than 6’ 3”.
There is an in-between size called “Harrow” which is usually suitable for shorter adults and some teenage batters. Harrow bats are a good option for many female batters as well.
Then, there are the children’s sizes. These are labelled sizes 1 to 6, and start from the smallest, 1, which is suitable for kids of around 4-6 years old. These bats go all the way up to kids around 12 to 14, at which age they will start to look to a Harrow bat.
Our full guide to cricket bat sizes can help you to establish the correct size based on the age and height of your child. There aren’t necessarily concrete rules, it is about what feels natural.
The “Middle” Of a Bat
The “middle” of a bat is the “sweet spot”. This is where batters are trying to make contact with the ball as it will reap the best results. The fibres are hardest in this part and you are likely to generate more power.
Each bat has its own “middle”. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to buy one of the best budget cricket bats or you are in the market to spend £500.
Different designs suit different pitches, and the Village Cricket Bat has a “low middle” design, which suits the lower and slower bounce of English pitches. If you are playing on village pitches week in, week out, you’ll know exactly what we mean by this.
A low middle can help you to make contact with the ball more consistently and even hit more boundaries more often.
We’ve discussed this already in some detail, but it is worth considering what a bat costs when you are going to make a purchase.
If you’re buying a bat for a youth player there is every chance that they are going to outgrow it. Are you really going to buy a £250 bat for a 10 year old, and then have to buy them another bat in a year or two?
The village cricket bat can be purchased for just £99, and even comes with a guarantee should anything go wrong with the bat in the first 180 days of use.
Compare this price to the MRF Chase Master, the bat that is endorsed by Indian test captain Virat Kohli. This bat retails at nearly £900. There’s no denying that it is a wonderful bat, but for many people it is simply not worth parting with this kind of cash.
Willow (and Willow Grades)
We don’t recommend using any material that isn’t willow for your cricket bat, especially if it is going to be hitting anything harder than a tennis ball. Walk into a high street budget sports store and you might find some bats for £20. These are practice bats, which can be used with tennis balls, “tape balls” and other practice balls, but you do not want to use one with a proper cricket ball.
So, if you’ve decided it has to be willow, your choices are English or Kashmir willow. Kashmir willow is a more affordable option, but both can be robust and durable.
Willow is also graded between 1 and 5 (with some cricket bat manufacturers branding some wood as 1+).
The lower the number, the better the willow. Bat manufacturers usually grade their own willow.
Grade one willow mans there are at least six straight grains that are visible on the face of the bat. There might be some tiny knots or specks on the back of the bat or around the edges, the actual playing surface is usually exceptionally clean and clear.
By the time you get to the lower grades, the bats tend to have less uniform grain, and also may have more variation in terms of color.
A higher grade is ideal, but some of the wood that doesn’t quite make grade 1 or 2 can still have an excellent ping. If you aren’t a professional, it isn’t likely to make a huge difference to how you play.
Of course, the lower the grade, the more affordable the bat tends to be. If you’re in the market for cheap but good cricket bats you might find that dropping a grade or two is a way to save money.
A cricket bat should be a weight that isn’t too light and flimsy to make contact with the ball, but that doesn’t feel like you’re having to carry around a wrecking ball while you’re at the crease.
2lb 9oz or 2lb 10oz is a fairly standard bat weight. These can be considered “average” weights for bats, and whether you want a good but cheap cricket bat or you are happy to spend a bit more money, you can use this as your point of reference.
Some power-hitters prefer a slightly heavier bat, to give them a little boost to the power that they can provide.
Some players who don’t have masses of power might opt for a slightly lighter bat, which can let them get more bat speed and also help to access more areas of the pitch.
Cheap Cricket Bat Options
Finding good cricket bats cheaply can be very tough, but there are a couple of options that stand out on the market.
Gunn & Moore Chroma DXM 404 Cricket Bat
If you do want to make sure you get an English willow bat, this offering from G & M can be a decent option.
The bat has a bowed design to help you to hit the ball further, as it tapers within the toe region to try and give people a bit more hitting power.
It’s got a Pro-Lite grip which is very lightweight but still allows you to keep a high level of control.
This bat can be purchased in a light or medium design. The lightweight model feels more like a bat for junior or perhaps teenage players, and huge hitters might not get the power they need out of the bat. The DXM 404 can also be hard to get your hands on, as a lot of budget cricket bats are.
The Village Cricket Co. set out with a mission of making cricket bats more affordable. We don’t believe that people should have to spend a fortune for their cricketing hobby on a saturday afternoon during the summer.
Our cricket bat is made out of high-quality Kashmir willow, and has a low middle which is perfect for use on English pitches. If other bats aren’t quite giving you the pickup you need, a low middle cricket bat like the Village Cricket Bat could be ideal.
On top of this, the bat comes already knocked in. As soon as it arrives on your doorstep, it’s ready to take to the nets or even to a practice session with friends at your local cricket pitch.
The Village Cricket Bat comes in all of the mainstream sizes, including LH and SH adult sizes, Harrow, and sizes 1-6 in junior sizes. Our junior bats start at just £47, which is one of the most affordable ways you can get your hands on a junior bat that gives you plenty of quality and durability. Even if you are going to have to replace the bat in a couple of years when your kid outgrows it, the cost isn’t likely to be all that painful.
On top of this, there is a 180-day guarantee against any defects, and if you don’t love the bat when it arrives, you’re welcome to return it unused within 30 days and we’ll fully refund you.
Summary – Can Affordable Still Mean Quality For Cricket Bats?
A few years ago, we thought there was a really big gap in the market for cricket bats that were affordable but still offered enough quality to play on the weekends. Nobody should have to shell out money they can’t afford just to enjoy their hobby on a Saturday afternoon, right?
Fortunately, with the clever design of our bat and the Kashmir willow production, we’re able to provide a bat that you can be proud of without costing the earth. If you’re the sort of person who wants to buy the bat that Ben Stokes is going to be using at the Ashes, then of course, you might need to shell out more than £97. If you’re not too worried about what the sticker on the front says, and want an affordable accomplice for either six-hitting or blocking, the Village Cricket Bat may just be the ideal choice for you.
Cheap, good quality cricket bats still aren’t the norm on the market. English willow tends to be very expensive, but fortunately there are options for those who don’t want to sell off the family valuables to buy a bat!