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Hitting a baseball is extremely difficult, and among tools available to help improve, the batting tee is probably the most underrated. Simply placing ball after ball atop a rubber tube at strike-zone height and putting good swings on the practice baseballs can do wonders for hitters at every level.
Baseball players at all play and skill levels use batting tees. Yes, Major League Baseball players use tees, as do players in college or high school, and in the minor leagues. Just because they call the very beginning level of baseball “tee ball” doesn’t mean the tee has to be left behind as the player moves forward.
We wanted to explore the best batting tee options for players both young and old alike, and provide options since not every tee is the simple black rubber tube connected to a rubber home-plate base.
For instance, batting tees could have more than one ball holder, to let batters think through swings at balls that arrive over different parts of the plate (e.g. inside or outside pitches). The rubber material at the top of the ball-holding tube gets struck hard by bats often, and some new tees have features designed to prevent damage.
There are a lot of other details to look for if you seek the best batting tee for yourself or player you know; and we hope to guide you through several excellent choices.
- The Tanner Heavy Tee tops our list, as a premium baseball tee with all the right features.
- Jugs T Pro Style delivers excellence from a brand known for producing baseball hitting training products.
- For beginning players and youths, look at the Franklin Sports MLB Spring Swing batting tee.
- For portability, check out the Hit Run Steal Heavy Duty Batting Tee.
- The MaxOver X3 Pro-Style is our choice for durability.
- Take note of the neat tripod design with the BaseGoal Batting Tee.
- Interested in multi-point tees? See the second entry here from Jugs, the Pro-Style 5-Point T.
In the same general category of baseball gear as tees, you also will find models of training tools called baseball batting trainers, or just “swing trainers.” The difference is that hitting trainers don’t let loose balls ~ instead, they feature hard plastic baseball-shaped globes attached to plastic or metal arms or ropes. This allows hitting the attached fake baseball over and over, without chasing a lot of hit balls.
The most common batting trainer looks at its center like a tee, except the base is usually legs like a table spread out, for stability. Then at the top of the center tube, instead of ball after ball being set there to hit, batting trainers have arms that extend outward and hold a single plastic ball out to hit.
Once struck, the plastic ball spins on the end of its arm, circular, until it’s momentum stops. The batter hits it again, over and over. There are lots of swings, without chasing balls.
There are other types of batting trainers, too, like hitting sticks where a coach holds one end and the other end has the plastic fake baseball to strike. Once struck, the stick just bends one way, then right back to the starting point. Another is a fake baseball attached to a rope or bungee (see Amazon), which is then tied to a pole or tree, and struck so the ball winds around its anchor. Kind of like tetherball we played as young kids, only these models use bats instead of hands to strike and wind the ball.
Generally, batting tees are better for ongoing, consistent training. It’s just better to hit real balls and see the true result, as in grounder, line drive, pop up. Tees are easy to adjust sideways and up and down, and not that hard to move and store as gear.
Batting trainers are generally for older or more established players, to get in swings they have already nearly perfected. Trainers are good for repetitions, and warming up. During practice, if there are players to shag hit balls, batting tees are the preferred choice. Tees can be used also to hit balls into a fence or portable net, eliminating the need for many other players to chase down all the balls.
That said, how do parents, coaches, or even players themselves choose the best batting tee, whether it’s for a brand-new tee-baller, someone moving up in the Little League ranks, in high school or college, or even at the pro levels? Take a look below at some of the best available batting tee models, consider your top need (or two), and go from there.
1. Best Baseball Batting Tee Overall ~ Tanner Heavy Tee
The Tanner Heavy (learn more) is a more-weighted version of the manufacturer’s original Tanner Tee, which proved popular enough for a relatively new entry into the crowded field of baseball tee models. The Heavy offers features and details that players and coaches at every level can appreciate.
The key here is the weighted base, designed in a claw shape to hope the tee firmly in place, a key consideration for batting tees as very light (or very cheap) tees tend to knock over all the time. The base provides versatility to use on top of home plates, atop rubber plates in batting cages, or on uneven grass or dirt.
It truly is a premium batting tee, at the higher end of the price range so perhaps better suited for medium- to well-advanced players. It’s patented FlexTop is designed to improve the feeling of the ball right off the bat, and lessens the impact of the tee itself through the swing.
What We Like:
- Weighs 10 pounds
- Adjustable from 26 inches to 43 inches
- Excellent ball presentation and visibility
- Hand-rolled FlexTop for flexibility and durability, and presenting balls high
- 10-pound base with high-quality rubber over the mold
- 3 points on base for versatility, enhanced balance
- Solid steel frame
Not So Much:
- High in the price range
2. Best Baseball Batting Tee for Consistency ~ Jugs T Pro Style
The Jugs brand is very well established in baseball and softball, for its pitching machines. Youth and high school teams across the nation have depended on those hitting tools over the years. So it’s no surprise that the Jugs T Pro Style batting tee hits on all the major points hitters and coaches like.
That Jugs confidently states “Will Not Tip Over” in its marketing text indicates its confidence in an area known to frustrate with batting tees. There’s plenty of high-low adjustability, and the tube is plenty flexible to allow ball feel and avoid too much disruption from hitting part of the tee.
The patented Grip-N-Go Handle is a nice touch to help ease with transport, always a challenge for coaches. The 1-year guarantee by the manufacturer is among the longest you’ll find, and you have to appreciate the internal interlocking design that prevents the upper tee stem from slipping, saving valuable time better used for practice.
What We Like:
- Weighs 10 pounds
- Internal interlocking bolt design prevents slippage of the upper tee stem
- Rubber covered base with rounded edges won’t scuff floors
- Telescoping stem unscrews from base for ease of transport and storage
- High adjustment range up to 46 inches makes it usable also for slowpitch softball
- 1-Year Guarantee
Not So Much:
- Upper range in pricing
3. Best Baseball Batting Tee for Youths ~ Franklin Sports MLB Spring Swing No Tip Batting Tee
Franklin Sports (see Amazon) is a manufacturer known for producing baseball gear for new players. The Sports MLB Spring Swing may also be our best batting tee for the price ~ it is the lowest-priced on this list, quite a deal for a name-brand batting tee.
Young coaches, and players too, will appreciate the very low overall weight of 3 lbs. This tee also adjusts to the lowest point among the batting tees we found ~ down as low as 20 inches off the ground. It’s snap and twist assembly is marketed as being easy to use, indicating Franklin’s real understanding of coaches’ needs.
What We Like:
- Affordable price
- Adjustable from 20 inches to 32 inches
- Design elements with young players in mind
- Flexible ball holder
- Patented spring mechanism to avoid hassles and loss of valuable practice time
- No-tip promise; steel rod inserts in weighted plate
Not So Much:
- Unsure of the durability of the PVC makeup
4. Best Baseball Batting Tee for Portability ~ Hit Run Steal Heavy Duty Baseball Batting Tee
As stated above for the Franklin model, there is much to be appreciated with the affordable pricing on the Heavy Duty Baseball Batting Tee by up-and-comer sporting goods manufacturer Hit Run Steal. The company comes right out with what they aimed for: ease-of-use, and stability.
Setup and take down can be done in seconds with this batting tee model. The portable tripod tee stand style is solid for stability, and the design is up-and-coming among a field known for just popping tubes atop big rubber plates.
The quality rolled rubber tee topper is strong and designed to be long-lasting, and holds baseballs, softballs, or tee ball division-sized balls. It provides a wider metal base at bottom compared with other models, aimed at strength and stability.
What We Like
- Affordable pricing
- Tee Weights: 2.65 pounds
- Adjustable from 28 inches to 46 inches height
- Wide metal base at bottom
- Easy to set up and take down
- Tripod-style bottom
Not So Much
- Jury’s still out on durability; time will tell
5. Best Baseball Batting Tee for Durability ~ MaxOver X3 Pro-Style
MaxOver touts its upgraded X3 Pro-Style as “America’s Best Batting Tee.” We can’t confirm nor deny the claim, but can say it’s a very fine batting tee, at the higher end of the pricing range. Where we see an edge with this baseball batting tee is the quality of materials used.
MaxOver’s X4 is a good tee, and the X3 is designed to be even better, with a focus on longevity. It’s made of stainless steel, high-strength rubber, and even “bullet-proof” polycarbonate. With the latest improvements, the manufacturer promises it will withstand up to 50,000 swings.
Which is a lot, considering the saying is that it takes 10,000 swings to perfect it. MaxOver presents it as the longest-lasting tee on the market, an attraction point for seasoned coaches tired of watching rubber tips break off or have other problems that force them to the sporting goods store.
What We Like
- Tee Weight: 5.75 pounds
- High-quality materials including stainless steel
- Adjustable from 21.5 inches to 43 inches tall
- Adjustable stainless-steel locking mechanism for easy disconnect
- Lighter in weight than other popular tees, yet plenty of resistance to tipping
- Height adjusting smooth and easy
Not So Much
- Some concerns about availability
6. Best Baseball Batting Tee for Design ~ BaseGoal Portable Batting Tee
What jumps out in photographs of the Batting Tee by BaseGoal (see Amazon) is its tripod base, and then you learn that it comes with a carrying bag, and if you’re a coach you will read on. This is not the lowest-priced batting tee, but certainly among the lower range of tees.
The easy folding into a bag will be very attractive to coaches tired of slogging around awkward rubber tees, especially their lunky heavy rubber plates. That it can collapse will make coaches want to touch and feel and see how it works.
Yet the tripod design is sturdy and offers enough stability. High-quality wrapped rubber was applied at the very top to hold balls, boosting durability, another sore point for coaches. Add to that use of very high-quality materials and this is a very attractive baseball batting tee model.
What We Like
- Tripod stand design
- Adjustable from 28 inches to 46 inches
- High-quality rubber ball-holding top
- Light at 3 lbs.
- Easily fits in carry bag when collapsed
Not So Much
- Concern about longevity of tripod design, especially around young players
7. Best Baseball Batting Tee for Advanced Training ~ Jugs Pro-Style 5-Point T
Another quality offering from Jugs, we don’t see the Pro-Style 5-Point Adjustable batting tee (see Amazon) as the very bottom of our list. It’s just that the very high price, and design with 5 different points on the stand to place balls, makes it more of a batting tee model for very advanced players. The selections above seem to provide more features suitable for players of various ages.
Still, those advanced players or their coaches can find all kinds of attraction points in this, the only multi-point batting tee on our list. It comes with 2 fully adjustable extension tubes, which can be moved among 5 placement points to help train hitting for inside, middle, and outside pitches.
This is an impressive-looking batting tee. Great features noted in the Jugs model above apply here, too, including the internal interlocking bolt design to stop upper tee stems from slipping. Really, advanced hitters need to learn to hit balls where they’re pitched, and this batting tee model certainly can’t hurt.
What We Like
- Large, thick steel base adds exceptional stability
- Telescoping stems unscrew from base
- Very solidly built and weighted
- Adjustable from 24 inches to 45 inches
- The Jugs patented Grip-n-Go handle eases transport
Not So Much
- Very heavy at 21 lbs.
Far too many players do not use batting tees correctly or to their full advantage. Placing it correctly at the start creates better swings. Remember the saying: “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” Understand that doing 10,000 swings poorly is not going to improve hitting.
Here are some tips on how to properly use a batting tee:
First, know the strike zone of the league played in. Baseball and fastpitch softball strike zones are different. With that knowledge, you want to take swings at every level between the top and bottom of the strike zone.
Basically, you’re looking at levels at the bottom of the kneecaps, or around the lettering on team baseball shirts. Fastpitch softball strike zones are higher up, usually level with the armpits; while the top of baseball strike zones generally are the mid-point between the belt buckle and letters.
The typical place to start is at belt buckle-level, which is not too high nor too low. Get a good number of hacks there, which is a good warm up because those swings should be easy and comfortable. Then begin moving levels up and down for further sets of swings.
The height used for the most swings should be the same height of pitches that have been causing the most trouble for a batter. They say left-handers hit low balls really well, so perhaps try more swings in the upper heights for them. Maybe a batter struggles with an inside pitch, so move the tee inward for some swings.
Think about the hitter’s recent swings-and-misses, and adjust height from there.
Placement of the tee and batter’s feet is as important as the above-mentioned height. Much too often, coaches either overlook tee placement, or don’t understand how important it is.
Proper hitting means having the bat barrel meet the ball out in front of home plate, and/or the batter’s body. To properly set up the tee, try this:
- Set a ball on the tee.
- Away from tee, the batter slowly simulates a swing, but stops once the bat barrel is perpendicular to the hitter’s body ~ it should be out front, toward the pitcher, at a right angle to the pitch path.
- Freeze that stance.
- While still holding the bat out front, approach the ball on the tee, and align it with the ball. Move the bat barrel to touch the ball lightly (don’t knock it off), as if emulating the point of contact.
- Look down. That’s probably where your feet should be.
- You want the arms to be able to extend during the swing. If the ball’s too close the hitter will tend to tuck the elbows in during the swing; too far away and the balls just won’t be struck well. The batter might know the feeling of hard balls hitting the very end of the bat; it’s one reason baseball players wear batting gloves, for the sting or hitting pitches too far inside or outside.
Hitting the ball out front is very important to hitting. Young players often set the tee directly in front of their belly button ~ e.g. centered to their body. This is not where you want to strike a baseball. By that time, the pitch has gotten too deep into the hitting zone, meaning too far closer to the catcher’s mitt.
Those swings meet the ball before the full extension, and therefore torque produced by the body during the swing, resulting in less-powerful strikes. Not only do these hits usually produce less velocity, they tend to also produce more balls to the middle- to opposite side of the field. A right-handed batter striking the ball at belly-button level would hit the ball toward the second baseman, for example.
The hardest hit balls come off barrels that have flown almost entirely through the hitting zone, near the tail end of the swing just before follow through. You want as much energy as possible into the swing, which transfers to the bat barrel, at point of contact.
More advanced hitters might start working on “hitting the ball where it’s pitched,” or purposely trying to pull inside pitches down the line, or hitting outside pitches “the other way.” For this type of hitting, the bat barrel does not strike the ball directly out in front of the plate.
For this training, the tee ball would be set either further out in front of the plate, plus a few inches closer to the batter (for an inside pitch); or as the ball already begins to cross the plate (e.g. close to the catcher, for opposite-field swing). To try “inside-out” swings, place the ball in the middle of the plate or even close (inside) to the batter and try to lag the bat barrel to hit the ball the other way. (Hint: it takes a lot of practice to do it well).
To whip inside pitches hard down baselines, batters must learn to swing faster and sometimes shorter (arms closer to the body) to get to the pitch before it gets too inside.
For outside hitting it’s called “lagging the bat,” or swinging with the hands going forward toward the pitcher, yet the bat barrel “lags” behind the hands. The barrel is still swung hard, but lets the ball get deeper into the hitting zone so the bat can strike the ball in a way that pushes it the other way.
This depends on the player, his or her age and size, experience, and the time of the season (early, mid, or late). It varies per player, but in general, do swings at batches of 15 balls at a time, then take a break to let the muscles rest. When all the muscles involved in a swing get very tired, the result could be poor swings that actually can hurt rather than help.
At each tee level/placement, probably do 3 sets of 15 each, with a maximum number of full-exertion swings at around 100 per session. If a batter is experienced and nicely warmed up, maybe 9 sets total of 15 swings, for 135 total. Doing more than that without significant rest time in between can over-fatigue muscles and even cause injury.
A batting tee is an exceptional tool to learn the very difficult athletic action of hitting a moving round ball with a round stick. Tees can be moved in or away, and the height can be adjusted, to emulate different places a pitch can travel through the hitting zone.
Above, we outlined some of the better batting tees available. As noted, the first place to begin in searching for batting tees is what’s most important to you, or the player. Is it weight and the ability to move or store it? Is it durability, as all those swings beat the tops of tees pretty well? Is it adjustability, or some high-tech features? Do you insist on getting a carrying bag with it?
Armed with your own desires and goals, match them with the features outlined above and you should find a batting tee to help any baseball player take their game to the next level.
Question: Is there an easier way to transport and store batting tees?
Answer: Batting tees are indeed awkward because of their shape (upside-down T), and flexibility (rubber tees bend greatly). However, some detach at the base, to move and store it as 2 pieces, if that would help. Look for tees with a screw or bolt mechanism at the connection point (at the store, flip it upside down and look at the bottom of the plate/base), and review marketing text carefully to see if the product is detachable. Some attachment points are better than others.
Q.: How do you maintain batting tees to last longer?
A.: Definitely keep them out of sunlight as much as possible. Tees are made of rubber or soft man-made materials, and the sun’s rays break those materials down rather quickly. Dried or even color-faded tees can break especially at the top. Also, if they get wet, wipe them with dry towels before storing.
Finally, sometimes young teams can have several players who beat a tee’s tubing pretty badly. If that’s happening, consider having 2 tees available just for that team, to break up the abuse to each. Once the very tips of tee tubes break down, the tee could become useless. After all, what then would hold balls in place?